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      Making sense of the protests in Turkey (and Brazil): Urban Warfare in “Rebel Cities”

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            Author and article information

            Journal of Global Faultlines
            Pluto Journals
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            : 58-68
            Bulent Gokay is a Professor of International Relations, Keele University, UK
            Farzana Shain is a Professor of Sociology of Education, Keele University, UK
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            Social & Behavioral Sciences


            1. (a shorter version of this article was published by openDemocracy , 26 August 2013) “Rebel Cities” is a reference to David Harvey's 2012 book, Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution (, 2012).

            2. In particular his 2012 book, Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution (Verso), and his 2008 New Left Review article, “THE RIGHT TO THE CITY”.

            3. “The right to the city is not an exclusive individual right, but a focused collective right. It is inclusive not only of construction workers but also of all those who facilitate the reproduction of daily life: the caregivers and teachers, the sewer and subway repair men, the plumbers and electricians, the scaffold erectors and crane operators, the hospital workers and the truck, bus, and taxi drivers, the restaurant workers and the entertainers, the bank clerks and the city administrators.” (, Rebel Cities , pp. 78 and 137)

            4. This is in line with David Harvey's reworking of Marxist political theory places the city first and foremost, in terms of its position as a generator of capital accumulation, as opposed to the factory/ work place. Harvey explains this situation as “the concept of work has to shift from a narrow definition attaching to industrial forms of labor to the far broader terrain of the work entailed in the production and reproduction of an increasingly urbanized daily life”. Harvey also discusses how urbanization will play a key role in social conflicts of today. ( Rebel Cities , p.138)

            5. “Urban Class Warfare: Are Cities Built for the Rich?”, SPIEGEL ONLINE , May 21, 2013, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/marxist-and-geographer-david-harvey-on-urban-development-and-power-a-900976.html [accessed in August 2013].

            6. “From Taksim and Rio to Tahrir, the smell of teargas”, 29 June 2013, http://roarmag.org/2013/06/from-tahrir-and-rio-to-taksim-the-smell-of-teargas/; “Turkey protests escalate, activists call for ‘revolution’”, http://www.euronews.com/2013/06/02/turkey-protests-escalate-activists-call-for-revolution/, 2 June 2013. (both accessed in July 2013)

            7. http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/TUR.html (accessed in August 2013)

            8. and (1998) “Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis”, The American Economic Review , pp. 139–156; Ernest Germain, Marxism and Democracy, Marxists' Internet Archive, http://www.marxists.org/archive/mandel/1948/09/democracy.htm (accessed in July 2013)

            9. (1966) “Tocqueville and the Tyranny of the Majority”, The Review of Politics , 28 (3), 293–307.

            10. (1993) “Gramsci, hegemony and international relations: an essay in method”, in (ed.) Gramsci, Historical Materialism and International Relations . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.52.

            11. What has impressed many analysts over the past ten years is the broad nature of Turkey's economic development. The industrial and services sectors have expanded alongside tourism. (, “The World in 2050: Beyond the BRICs – a broader look at emerging market growth prospects”, http://www.pwc.com/en_GX/gx/world-2050/pdf/world_2050_brics.pdf, accessed in August 2013)

            12. “Amending Turkish Constitution for Kurdish Question”, 21 March 2013, http://studies.aljazeera.net/en/positionpapers/2013/03/2013336372537622.htm (accessed in July 2013)

            13. , “Ragip Zarakolu, human rights symbol in modern Turkey”, Open Democracy , 11 February 2012, http://www.opendemocracy.net/bulent-gokay/ragip-zarakolu-human-rights-symbol-in-modern-turkey

            14. “Turkish protesters are young, liberal and mad at PM, poll says”, http://www.france24.com/en/20130605-turkey-protesters-istanbul-taksim-park-anger-erdogan, 5 June 2013.

            15. , “Turkey: ‘Occupy Gezi’ – Istanbul's red-green uprising; Right to the City movement and the Turkish summer”, http://links.org.au/node/3373, 2 June 2013.

            16. A poll published in the Hurriyet Daily News revealed that 70 percent of the protesters insisted they did not “feel close” to any political party. (given in “In Istanbul's Heart, Leader's Obsession, Perhaps Achilles' Heel”, New York Times , 7 June 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/world/europe/in-istanbuls-taksim-square-an-achilles-heel.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

            17. “From Tahrir to Taksim”, http://www.ericlee.info/blog/?p=763, 12 June 2013.

            18. ‘the fact that in Turkey, Egypt or Tunisia an “Islamic republic” with its own peculiarities was not born, as in Iran, is the reason for disorder and conflicts’, says Daniele Scalea in http://www.4thmedia.org/2013/06/23/from-tahrir-to-taksim-the-carousel-of-revolt-in-the-mediterranean-periphery/ (accessed in July 2013)

            19. Such Eurocentric prejudices had emerged over centuries, supported by the writings of leading Western thinkers/ writers. Immanuel Kant, for instance, divided humans into four racial categories, set apart from each other by differences in natural disposition. “Humanity”, he writes, is “at its greatest perfection in the race of the whites”. (in , Race and Enlightenment: A Reader , Blackwell, 1997, pp.47, 55 and 63) Similarly, James Mill, great British philosopher and historian of the 19th century, wrote a five-volume history of India to demonstrate how deficient the Indians are in governance, science, philosophy, art, and technology. Today other Western writers repeat a similar line. Niall Ferguson, for instance, writes, “Without the spread of British rule around the world”, colonised people, such as Chinese and Indians, would not have parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, incorrupt government, and individual freedoms. (, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power , New York: Basic Books, 2003)

            20. Massive protests of August 2011 or the Chilean Education Conflict (as labelled in Chilean media), a series of ongoing student-led protests across Chile, demanding a new framework for education in the country. Beyond the specific demands regarding education, there is a feeling that the protests reflect a “deep discontent” among some parts of society with Chile's high level of inequality. Recently, following the start of the protest movement in Brazil, mostly peaceful demonstrations started again across the country to demand education reform.

            21. “Peace is over, Turkey is here?” was one placard in Sao Paolo. (Reuters, 14 June 2013)

            22. There is a background to this: since 2008, the ongoing pacification programmes in Rio's favelas which entail a neoliberal urbanized approach to social and class warfare through the application o0f a range of different public policies to “troubled” neighbourhoods, such as special police units (Pacification Police Units, UPP) patrolling favelas to help broker peace being warring drug traffickers.

            23. Interview with David Harvey: Rebel Cities & Urban Resistance Part II, 7 January 2013, http://www.zcommunications.org/contents/190562, accessed in August 2013.

            24. , Rebel Cities , p. 103.

            25. , Rebel Cities , p.78.

            26. Guardian/ICM poll, in February 2003, shows that at least one person from 1.25 million households in Britain went on Saturday's anti-war march in London, confirming estimates that between one million and two million people went on the march. The poll shows it is the prime minister's personal standing rather than the Labour party which has suffered the wrath of anti-war voters. Labour's standing is down four points from 43% last month to 39% this month but the government still maintains a healthy eight-point lead over the Conservatives. ( The Guardian , Tuesday 18 February 2003, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2003/feb/18/politics.iraq)

            27. http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2013/07/08/130708ta_talk_surowiecki, http://theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=10040, http://www.globalenvision.org/library/3/1377 (all accessed in July 2013)

            28. , Rebel Cities , p. 85.

            29. , “The Violence of Organized Forgetting”, Truthout , 22 July 2013, http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/17647-the-violence-of-organized-forgetting (accessed in July 2013)

            30. and , “Middle-class rage sparks protest movements in Turkey, Brazil, Bulgaria and beyond”, The Washington Post , 28 June 28 2013, http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-06-28/world/40250885_1_turkey-new-government-arab-spring. (accessed in August 2013)

            31. , “Middle Class Militants”, The New Yorker , 8 July 2013, http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2013/07/08/130708ta_talk_surowiecki. (accessed in August 2013)

            32. “Turkish protesters reject neo-liberalism not Islamism”, ahramonline , 4 June 2013, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/73116/World/Region/Interview-Turkish-protesters-reject-neoliberalism-.aspx. (accessed in August 2013)

            33. , Rebel Cities , p.65.

            34. , Rebel Cities , p.21

            35. , “Interview with David Harvey”, The White Review , May 2012, http://www.thewhitereview.org/interviews/interview-with-david-harvey/ (accessed in August 2013); , Rebel Cities , pp. 88 and 111.


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